Thursday, April 27, 2006

Monkeys are like people trapped in fly-bodies

I see the Globe and Mail has reprinted the worse-than-worst AP article about birds 'learning grammar' verbatim.

I look forward to seeing Mark's interlinear interpretation, since I can't make head nor tail of it as written. I really like the opinion attributed to Mark Hauser at the end, though, apparently offered in partial explanation of why the birds did better than his tamarins:

"Monkeys may be trapped like Franz Kafka's Gregor Samsa, a man metamorphosed into a bug and unable to communicate with the outside world, Mr. Hauser suggested."


Hee hee.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cattle, cars and firearms

Over on Language Log, Bill Poser presents an entirely rational argument for concluding that a cow is not a motor vehicle. I would just like to note, however, that there are genuine laws of the land according to which cows and cars do form [oh, fine, belong to...] a natural class, namely the class of items which you can be charged with 'Grand Theft' for stealing one of [e]. See, if you dare, my post on the topic from last year.

Update: See follow up posts on A Roguish Chrestomathy, p(b)ilokok, and the Language Log! Everybody's into categorization.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Just two amino acids...

...separate my FoxP2 gene from a chimp's, notes Gary Marcus. Howzabout that.